Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Flotation Assembly of Large-Area Ultrathin MWCNT Nanofilms for Construction of Bioelectrodes
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 342; doi:10.3390/nano7100342 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
We report a simple, versatile, and rapid method for the fabrication of optically-transparent large-area carbon nanotube (CNT) films via flotation assembly. After solvent-induced assembly, floating films were transferred to a flat supporting substrate to form conductive and transparent CNT film electrodes. The resulting
[...] Read more.
We report a simple, versatile, and rapid method for the fabrication of optically-transparent large-area carbon nanotube (CNT) films via flotation assembly. After solvent-induced assembly, floating films were transferred to a flat supporting substrate to form conductive and transparent CNT film electrodes. The resulting electrodes, with uniform 40 ± 20 nm multi-walled CNT (MWCNT) layers, were characterized by electrochemical and microscopy methods. The flotation method does not require specialized thin-film instrumentation and avoids the need for surfactants and pre-oxidized CNTs which can hamper electrochemical performance. A proof-of-concept nanostructured bioelectrode demonstrating high sensitivity for glucose was developed with an electropolymerized poly(pyrene-adamantane) layer for host–guest immobilization of active β-cyclodextrin tagged GOx enzymes. The polymer provides pyrene groups for cross-linking to CNTs and pendant adamantane groups for binding the β-cyclodextrin groups of the tagged enzyme. This demonstration offers a new approach for the preparation of stable and transparent CNT film electrodes with attractive electrochemical properties towards future photobio- and bio-electrochemical fuel cells, electrochemical sensors, and electroanalysis. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Enhancing Photovoltaic Performance Using Broadband Luminescent Down-Shifting by Combining Multiple Species of Eu-Doped Silicate Phosphors
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 340; doi:10.3390/nano7100340 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This paper demonstrates the application of a broadband luminescent downshifting (LDS) layer with multiple species of europium (Eu)-doped silicate phosphors using spin-on film technique to enhance the photovoltaic efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells. The surface morphology of the deposited layer was examined
[...] Read more.
This paper demonstrates the application of a broadband luminescent downshifting (LDS) layer with multiple species of europium (Eu)-doped silicate phosphors using spin-on film technique to enhance the photovoltaic efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells. The surface morphology of the deposited layer was examined using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The chemical composition of the Eu-doped silicate phosphors was analyzed using energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). The fluorescence emission of the Eu-doped silicate phosphors was characterized using photoluminescence (PL) measurements at room temperature. We also compared the optical reflectance and external quantum efficiency (EQE) response of cells with combinations of various Eu-doped phosphors species. The cell coated with two species of Eu-doped phosphors achieved a conversion efficiency enhancement (∆η) of 19.39%, far exceeding the ∆η = 15.08% of the cell with one species of Eu-doped phosphors and the ∆η = 8.51% of the reference cell with the same silicate layer without Eu-doped phosphors. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Few-Flakes Reduced Graphene Oxide Sensors for Organic Vapors with a High Signal-to-Noise Ratio
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 339; doi:10.3390/nano7100339 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This paper reports our findings on how to prepare a graphene oxide-based gas sensor for sensing fast pulses of volatile organic compounds with a better signal-to-noise ratio. We use rapid acetone pulses of varying concentrations to test the sensors. First, we compare the
[...] Read more.
This paper reports our findings on how to prepare a graphene oxide-based gas sensor for sensing fast pulses of volatile organic compounds with a better signal-to-noise ratio. We use rapid acetone pulses of varying concentrations to test the sensors. First, we compare the effect of graphene oxide deposition method (dielectrophoresis versus solvent evaporation) on the sensor’s response. We find that dielectrophoresis yields films with uniform coverage and better sensor response. Second, we examine the effect of chemical reduction. Contrary to prior reports, we find that graphene oxide reduction leads to a reduction in sensor response and current noise, thus keeping the signal-to-noise ratio the same. We found that if we sonicated the sensor in acetone, we created a sensor with a few flakes of reduced graphene oxide. Such sensors provided a higher signal-to-noise ratio that could be correlated to the vapor concentration of acetone with better repeatability. Modeling shows that the sensor’s response is due to one-site Langmuir adsorption or an overall single exponent process. Further, the desorption of acetone as deduced from the sensor recovery signal follows a single exponent process. Thus, we show a simple way to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in reduced graphene oxide sensors. Full article
Figures

Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Advances in Single-Chain Nanoparticles for Catalysis Applications
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 341; doi:10.3390/nano7100341 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Enzymes are the most efficient catalysts known for working in an aqueous environment near room temperature. The folding of individual polymer chains to functional single-chain nanoparticles (SCNPs) offers many opportunities for the development of artificial enzyme-mimic catalysts showing both high catalytic activity and
[...] Read more.
Enzymes are the most efficient catalysts known for working in an aqueous environment near room temperature. The folding of individual polymer chains to functional single-chain nanoparticles (SCNPs) offers many opportunities for the development of artificial enzyme-mimic catalysts showing both high catalytic activity and specificity. In this review, we highlight recent results obtained in the use of SCNPs as bioinspired, highly-efficient nanoreactors (3–30 nm) for the synthesis of a variety of nanomaterials (inorganic nanoparticles, quantum dots, carbon nanodots), polymers, and chemical compounds, as well as nanocontainers for CO2 capture and release. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Study of the Photodynamic Activity of N-Doped TiO2 Nanoparticles Conjugated with Aluminum Phthalocyanine
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 338; doi:10.3390/nano7100338 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
TiO2 nanoparticles modified with phthalocyanines (Pc) have been proven to be a potential photosensitizer in the application of photodynamic therapy (PDT). However, the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by TiO2 nanoparticles modified with Pc has not been demonstrated clearly. In
[...] Read more.
TiO2 nanoparticles modified with phthalocyanines (Pc) have been proven to be a potential photosensitizer in the application of photodynamic therapy (PDT). However, the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by TiO2 nanoparticles modified with Pc has not been demonstrated clearly. In this study, nitrogen-doped TiO2 conjugated with Pc (N-TiO2-Pc) were studied by means of monitoring the generation of ROS. The absorbance and photokilling effect on HeLa cells upon visible light of different regions were also studied and compared with non-doped TiO2-Pc and Pc. Both N-TiO2-Pc and TiO2-Pc can be activated by visible light and exhibited much higher photokilling effect on HeLa cells than Pc. In addition, nitrogen-doping can greatly enhance the formation of 1O2 and •O2, while it suppresses the generation of OH•. This resulted in significant photodynamic activity. Therefore, N-TiO2-Pc can be an excellent candidate for a photosensitizer in PDT with wide-spectrum visible irradiation. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Raman Enhancement and Photo-Bleaching of Organic Dyes in the Presence of Chemical Vapor Deposition-Grown Graphene
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 337; doi:10.3390/nano7100337 -
Abstract
Fluorescent organic dyes photobleach under intense light. Graphene has been shown to improve the photo-stability of organic dyes. In this paper, we investigated the Raman spectroscopy and photo-bleaching kinetics of dyes in the absence/presence of chemical vapor deposition (CVD)-grown graphene. We show that
[...] Read more.
Fluorescent organic dyes photobleach under intense light. Graphene has been shown to improve the photo-stability of organic dyes. In this paper, we investigated the Raman spectroscopy and photo-bleaching kinetics of dyes in the absence/presence of chemical vapor deposition (CVD)-grown graphene. We show that graphene enhances the Raman signal of a wide range of dyes. The photo-bleaching of the dyes was reduced when the dyes were in contact with graphene. In contrast, monolayer hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) was much less effective in reducing the photo-bleaching rate of the dyes. We attribute the suppression of photo-bleaching to the energy or electron transfer from dye to graphene. The results highlight the potential of CVD graphene as a substrate for protecting and enhancing Raman response of organic dyes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Precise Placement of Metallic Nanowires on a Substrate by Localized Electric Fields and Inter-Nanowire Electrostatic Interaction
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 335; doi:10.3390/nano7100335 -
Abstract
Placing nanowires at the predetermined locations on a substrate represents one of the significant hurdles to be tackled for realization of heterogeneous nanowire systems. Here, we demonstrate spatially-controlled assembly of a single nanowire at the photolithographically recessed region at the electrode gap with
[...] Read more.
Placing nanowires at the predetermined locations on a substrate represents one of the significant hurdles to be tackled for realization of heterogeneous nanowire systems. Here, we demonstrate spatially-controlled assembly of a single nanowire at the photolithographically recessed region at the electrode gap with high integration yield (~90%). Two popular routes, such as protruding electrode tips and recessed wells, for spatially-controlled nanowire alignment, are compared to investigate long-range dielectrophoretic nanowire attraction and short-range nanowire-nanowire electrostatic interaction for determining the final alignment of attracted nanowires. Furthermore, the post-assembly process has been developed and tested to make a robust electrical contact to the assembled nanowires, which removes any misaligned ones and connects the nanowires to the underlying electrodes of circuit. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Enhanced UV-Visible Light Photocatalytic Activity by Constructing Appropriate Heterostructures between Mesopore TiO2 Nanospheres and Sn3O4 Nanoparticles
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 336; doi:10.3390/nano7100336 -
Abstract
Novel TiO2/Sn3O4 heterostructure photocatalysts were ingeniously synthesized via a scalable two-step method. The impressive photocatalytic abilities of the TiO2/Sn3O4 sphere nanocomposites were validated by the degradation test of methyl orange and •OH trapping
[...] Read more.
Novel TiO2/Sn3O4 heterostructure photocatalysts were ingeniously synthesized via a scalable two-step method. The impressive photocatalytic abilities of the TiO2/Sn3O4 sphere nanocomposites were validated by the degradation test of methyl orange and •OH trapping photoluminescence experiments under ultraviolet (UV) and visible light irradiation, respectively. Especially under the visible light, the TiO2/Sn3O4 nanocomposites demonstrated a superb photocatalytic activity, with 81.2% of methyl orange (MO) decomposed at 30 min after irradiation, which greatly exceeded that of the P25 (13.4%), TiO2 (0.5%) and pure Sn3O4 (59.1%) nanostructures. This enhanced photocatalytic performance could be attributed to the mesopore induced by the monodispersed TiO2 cores that supply sufficient surface areas and accessibility to reactant molecules. This exquisite hetero-architecture facilitates extended UV-visible absorption and efficient photoexcited charge carrier separation. Full article
Figures

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
PMA-Induced THP-1 Macrophage Differentiation is Not Impaired by Citrate-Coated Platinum Nanoparticles
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 332; doi:10.3390/nano7100332 -
Abstract
The innate immune system consists of several complex cellular and molecular mechanisms. During inflammatory responses, blood-circulating monocytes are driven to the sites of inflammation, where they differentiate into tissue macrophages. The research of novel nanomaterials applied to biomedical sciences is often limited by
[...] Read more.
The innate immune system consists of several complex cellular and molecular mechanisms. During inflammatory responses, blood-circulating monocytes are driven to the sites of inflammation, where they differentiate into tissue macrophages. The research of novel nanomaterials applied to biomedical sciences is often limited by their toxicity or dangerous interactions with the immune cell functions. Platinum nanoparticles (PtNPs) have shown efficient antioxidant properties within several cells, but information on their potential harmful role in the monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation process is still unknown. Here, we studied the morphology and the release of cytokines in PMA-differentiated THP-1 pre-treated with 5 nm PtNPs. Although NP endocytosis was evident, we did not find differences in the cellular structure or in the release of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines compared to cells differentiated in PtNP-free medium. However, the administration of PtNPs to previously differentiated THP-1 induced massive phagocytosis of the PtNPs and a slight metabolism decrease at higher doses. Further investigation using undifferentiated and differentiated neutrophil-like HL60 confirmed the harmlessness of PtNPs with non-adherent innate immune cells. Our results demonstrate that citrate-coated PtNPs are not toxic with these immune cell lines, and do not affect the PMA-stimulated THP-1 macrophage differentiation process in vitro. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
AuPd Bimetallic Nanocrystals Embedded in Magnetic Halloysite Nanotubes: Facile Synthesis and Catalytic Reduction of Nitroaromatic Compounds
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 333; doi:10.3390/nano7100333 -
Abstract
In this research, a facile and effective approach was developed for the preparation of well-designed AuPd alloyed catalysts supported on magnetic halloysite nanotubes (HNTs@Fe3O4@AuPd). The microstructure and the magnetic properties of HNTs@Fe3O4@AuPd were confirmed by
[...] Read more.
In this research, a facile and effective approach was developed for the preparation of well-designed AuPd alloyed catalysts supported on magnetic halloysite nanotubes (HNTs@Fe3O4@AuPd). The microstructure and the magnetic properties of HNTs@Fe3O4@AuPd were confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high resolution TEM (HRTEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and vibrating sample magnetometry (VSM) analyses. The catalysts, fabricated by a cheap, environmentally friendly, and simple surfactant-free formation process, exhibited high activities during the reduction of 4-nitrophenol and various other nitroaromatic compounds. Moreover, the catalytic activities of the HNTs@Fe3O4@AuPd nanocatalysts were tunable via adjusting the atomic ratio of AuPd during the synthesis. As compared with the monometallic nanocatalysts (HNTs@Fe3O4@Au and HNTs@Fe3O4@Pd), the bimetallic alloyed HNTs@Fe3O4@AuPd nanocatalysts exhibited excellent catalytic activities toward the reduction of 4-nitrophenol (4-NP) to 4-aminophenol. Furthermore, the as-obtained HNTs@Fe3O4@AuPd can be recycled several times, while retaining its functionality due to the stability and magnetic separation property. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Microstructuring of Mesoporous Titania Films Loaded with Silver Salts to Enhance the Photocatalytic Degradation of Methyl Blue under Visible Light
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 334; doi:10.3390/nano7100334 -
Abstract
The microstructuring of the distribution of silver nanoparticles (NPs) in mesoporous titania films loaded with silver salts, using two-beam interference lithography leading to 1 Dimension (1D) grating, induces variations in the photocatalytic efficiency. The influence of the structuration was tested on the degradation
[...] Read more.
The microstructuring of the distribution of silver nanoparticles (NPs) in mesoporous titania films loaded with silver salts, using two-beam interference lithography leading to 1 Dimension (1D) grating, induces variations in the photocatalytic efficiency. The influence of the structuration was tested on the degradation of methyl blue (MB) under ultraviolet (UV) and visible illumination, giving rise to a significant improvement of the photocatalytic efficiency. The periodic distribution of the NPs was characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high-angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Sub-Microanalysis Approach in Chemical Characterisation of Gold Nanorods Formed by a Novel Polymer-Immobilised Gold Seeds Base
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 331; doi:10.3390/nano7100331 -
Abstract
Gold nanorods (GNRs) have been fabricated by a novel polymer-immobilised seed mediated method using ultraviolet (UV) photoreduced gold-polymethylmethacrylate (Au–PMMA) nanocomposites as a seed platform and characterised at sub-micron scale regime with synchrotron-based techniques; near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence
[...] Read more.
Gold nanorods (GNRs) have been fabricated by a novel polymer-immobilised seed mediated method using ultraviolet (UV) photoreduced gold-polymethylmethacrylate (Au–PMMA) nanocomposites as a seed platform and characterised at sub-micron scale regime with synchrotron-based techniques; near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) mapping. In this report, it is shown that investigating polymer nanocomposites using combination of XRF mapping and NEXAFS spectromicroscopy can help to see the growth phenomenon from different perspective than conventional characterisation techniques. XRF maps are used to explore distribution of the constituent elements and showing how polymer matrix making stripe patterns along with regions where GNRs are formed. NEXAFS carbon (C) K-edge spectra have been taken at three different stages of synthesis: (1) on Au–PMMA nanocomposites before UV irradiation, (2) after gold nanoparticles formation, and (3) after GNRs formation. It reveals how polymer matrix has been degraded during GNRs formation and avoiding chemically or physically damage to polymer matrix is crucial to control the formation of GNRs. Full article
Figures

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Modeling of Interactions between the Zebrafish Hatching Enzyme ZHE1 and A Series of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles: Nano-QSAR and Causal Analysis of Inactivation Mechanisms
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 330; doi:10.3390/nano7100330 -
Abstract
The quantitative relationships between the activity of zebrafish ZHE1 enzyme and a series of experimental and physicochemical features of 24 metal oxide nanoparticles were revealed. Vital characteristics of the nanoparticles’ structure were reflected using both experimental and theoretical descriptors. The developed quantitative structure–activity
[...] Read more.
The quantitative relationships between the activity of zebrafish ZHE1 enzyme and a series of experimental and physicochemical features of 24 metal oxide nanoparticles were revealed. Vital characteristics of the nanoparticles’ structure were reflected using both experimental and theoretical descriptors. The developed quantitative structure–activity relationship model for nanoparticles (nano-QSAR) was capable of predicting the enzyme inactivation based on four descriptors: the hydrodynamic radius, mass density, the Wigner–Seitz radius, and the covalent index. The nano-QSAR model was calculated using the non-linear regression tree M5P algorithm. The developed model is characterized by high robustness R2bagging = 0.90 and external predictivity Q2EXT = 0.93. This model is in agreement with modern theories of aquatic toxicity. Dissolution and size-dependent characteristics are among the key driving forces for enzyme inactivation. It was proven that ZnO, CuO, Cr2O3, and NiO nanoparticles demonstrated strong inhibitory effects because of their solubility. The proposed approach could be used as a non-experimental alternative to animal testing. Additionally, methods of causal discovery were applied to shed light on the mechanisms and modes of action. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Recent Progresses and Development of Advanced Atomic Layer Deposition towards High-Performance Li-Ion Batteries
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 325; doi:10.3390/nano7100325 -
Abstract
Electrode materials and electrolytes play a vital role in device-level performance of rechargeable Li-ion batteries (LIBs). However, electrode structure/component degeneration and electrode-electrolyte sur-/interface evolution are identified as the most crucial obstacles in practical applications. Thanks to its congenital advantages, atomic layer deposition (ALD)
[...] Read more.
Electrode materials and electrolytes play a vital role in device-level performance of rechargeable Li-ion batteries (LIBs). However, electrode structure/component degeneration and electrode-electrolyte sur-/interface evolution are identified as the most crucial obstacles in practical applications. Thanks to its congenital advantages, atomic layer deposition (ALD) methodology has attracted enormous attention in advanced LIBs. This review mainly focuses upon the up-to-date progress and development of the ALD in high-performance LIBs. The significant roles of the ALD in rational design and fabrication of multi-dimensional nanostructured electrode materials, and finely tailoring electrode-electrolyte sur-/interfaces are comprehensively highlighted. Furthermore, we clearly envision that this contribution will motivate more extensive and insightful studies in the ALD to considerably improve Li-storage behaviors. Future trends and prospects to further develop advanced ALD nanotechnology in next-generation LIBs were also presented. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
The Effect of TiO2 Doped Photocatalytic Nano-Additives on the Hydration and Microstructure of Portland and High Alumina Cements
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 329; doi:10.3390/nano7100329 -
Abstract
Mortars with two different binders (Portland cement (PC) and high alumina cement (HAC)) were modified upon the bulk incorporation of nano-structured photocatalytic additives (bare TiO2, and TiO2 doped with either iron (Fe-TiO2) or vanadium (V-TiO2)). Plastic
[...] Read more.
Mortars with two different binders (Portland cement (PC) and high alumina cement (HAC)) were modified upon the bulk incorporation of nano-structured photocatalytic additives (bare TiO2, and TiO2 doped with either iron (Fe-TiO2) or vanadium (V-TiO2)). Plastic and hardened state properties of these mortars were assessed in order to study the influence of these nano-additives. Water demand was increased, slightly by bare TiO2 and Fe-TiO2, and strongly by V-TiO2, in agreement with the reduction of the particle size and the tendency to agglomerate. Isothermal calorimetry showed that hydration of the cementitious matrices was accelerated due to additional nucleation sites offered by the nano-additives. TiO2 and doped TiO2 did not show pozzolanic reactivity in the binding systems. Changes in the pore size distribution, mainly the filler effect of the nano-additives, accounted for the increase in compressive strengths measured for HAC mortars. A complex microstructure was seen in calcium aluminate cement mortars, strongly dependent on the curing conditions. Fe-TiO2 was found to be homogeneously distributed whereas the tendency of V-TiO2 to agglomerate was evidenced by elemental distribution maps. Water absorption capacity was not affected by the nano-additive incorporation in HAC mortars, which is a favourable feature for the application of these mortars. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Regulation of the Electroanalytical Performance of Ultrathin Titanium Dioxide Nanosheets toward Lead Ions by Non-Metal Doping
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 327; doi:10.3390/nano7100327 -
Abstract
Three non-metallic elements, sulfur, fluorine, and iodine, were used to dope the ultrathin two-dimensional TiO2 nanosheets, which would regulate their electroanalytical properties toward heavy metal ions. Among these doped materials, fluorine-doped TiO2 nanosheets shows the highest electrochemical sensitivity and a superior
[...] Read more.
Three non-metallic elements, sulfur, fluorine, and iodine, were used to dope the ultrathin two-dimensional TiO2 nanosheets, which would regulate their electroanalytical properties toward heavy metal ions. Among these doped materials, fluorine-doped TiO2 nanosheets shows the highest electrochemical sensitivity and a superior detection limit toward Pb(II) when the doping concentration is 10%. When compared with the bare TiO2 nanosheets, the sensitivity increased by 102%, and the detection limit decreased by 36.4%. Through combining further electrochemical experiments and density-functional theory calculations, the enhanced electrochemical performance stemming from element doping was then investigated in detail. The theoretical calculation demonstrated that fluorine doping could greatly increase the adsorption energy of Pb(II) on the TiO2 nanosheets and enhance their loading capacity. Both cyclic voltammetric and electrical impedance spectroscopy analysis indicated the enhanced electron transfer rate on the electrode modified by fluorine-doped TiO2 nanosheets. Further measurement on the desorption performance showed the better stripping response of Pb(II) on the electrode with TiO2 nanosheets after fluorine doping, which suggests that fluorine doping is beneficial for Pb(II) diffuse onto the electrode surface for the reduction and stripping reaction. Therefore, the element doping of two-dimensional TiO2 nanosheets provides a facile method to extend the electronic materials toward detection of heavy metal ions in the environment. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of MC3T3 Cells Proliferation and Drug Release Study from Sodium Hyaluronate-1,4-butanediol Diglycidyl Ether Patterned Gel
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 328; doi:10.3390/nano7100328 -
Abstract
A pattern gel has been fabricated using sodium hyaluronate (HA) and 1,4-butanediol diglycidyl ether (BDDGE) through the micro-molding technique. The cellular behavior of osteoblast cells (MC3T3) in the presence and absence of dimethyloxalylglycine (DMOG) and sodium borate (NaB) in the pattern gel (HA-BDDGE)
[...] Read more.
A pattern gel has been fabricated using sodium hyaluronate (HA) and 1,4-butanediol diglycidyl ether (BDDGE) through the micro-molding technique. The cellular behavior of osteoblast cells (MC3T3) in the presence and absence of dimethyloxalylglycine (DMOG) and sodium borate (NaB) in the pattern gel (HA-BDDGE) has been evaluated for its potential application in bone regeneration. The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (13C NMR), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) results implied the crosslinking reaction between HA and BDDGE. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis confirmed the formation of pattern on the surface of HA-BDDGE. The gel property of the crosslinked HA-BDDGE has been investigated by swelling study in distilled water at 37 °C. The HA-BDDGE gel releases DMOG in a controlled way for up to seven days in water at 37 °C. The synthesized gel is biocompatible and the bolus drug delivery results indicated that the DMOG containing patterned gel demonstrates a better cell migration ability on the surface than NaB. For local delivery, the pattern gel with 300 µM NaB or 300 µM DMOG induced cell clusters formation, and the gel with 150 µM NaB/DMOG showed high cell proliferation capability only. The vital role of NaB for bone regeneration has been endorsed from the formation of cell clusters in presence of NaB in the media. The in vitro results indicated that the pattern gel showed angiogenic and osteogenic responses with good ALP activity and enhanced HIF-1α, and Runx2 levels in the presence of DMOG and NaB in MC3T3 cells. Hence, the HA-BDDGE gel could be used in bone regeneration application. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Transformation of CuO Nanoparticles in the Aquatic Environment: Influence of pH, Electrolytes and Natural Organic Matter
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 326; doi:10.3390/nano7100326 -
Abstract
Many studies have shown the effect of solution chemistry on the environmental behavior of metal-based nanoparticles (NPs), except CuO NPs. Here, we investigated the agglomeration, sedimentation, dissolution, and speciation of CuO NPs by varying pH, ionic strength, ionic valence, and natural organic matter
[...] Read more.
Many studies have shown the effect of solution chemistry on the environmental behavior of metal-based nanoparticles (NPs), except CuO NPs. Here, we investigated the agglomeration, sedimentation, dissolution, and speciation of CuO NPs by varying pH, ionic strength, ionic valence, and natural organic matter (NOM). The results showed that as the pH moved away from 6, the size of CuO agglomerates decreased, along with the enhanced NP suspension stabilization, due to the increase of electrostatic repulsive force. Increasing ionic strength and valence intensified the agglomeration and sedimentation of CuO NPs because of the compression of electrical double layers. The presence of humic acid and citric acid enhanced the dispersion and stabilization of CuO NP suspension, but l-cysteine showed a different impact. Decreasing pH, increasing ionic strength and all NOM improved the dissolution of CuO NPs, but the divalent electrolyte (CaCl2) inhibited the Cu2+ release from CuO NPs compared to the monovalent electrolyte (NaCl). In addition, X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) analysis demonstrated that the presence of l-cysteine transformed more than 30% of CuO NPs to Cu(I)-cysteine by coordinating with thiol group. This study can give us an in-depth understanding on the environmental behavior and fate of CuO NPs in the aquatic environment. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Feedback System Control Optimized Electrospinning for Fabrication of an Excellent Superhydrophobic Surface
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 319; doi:10.3390/nano7100319 -
Abstract
Superhydrophobic surface, as a promising micro/nano material, has tremendous applications in biological and artificial investigations. The electrohydrodynamics (EHD) technique is a versatile and effective method for fabricating micro- to nanoscale fibers and particles from a variety of materials. A combination of critical parameters,
[...] Read more.
Superhydrophobic surface, as a promising micro/nano material, has tremendous applications in biological and artificial investigations. The electrohydrodynamics (EHD) technique is a versatile and effective method for fabricating micro- to nanoscale fibers and particles from a variety of materials. A combination of critical parameters, such as mass fraction, ratio of N, N-Dimethylformamide (DMF) to Tetrahydrofuran (THF), inner diameter of needle, feed rate, receiving distance, applied voltage as well as temperature, during electrospinning process, to determine the morphology of the electrospun membranes, which in turn determines the superhydrophobic property of the membrane. In this study, we applied a recently developed feedback system control (FSC) scheme for rapid identification of the optimal combination of these controllable parameters to fabricate superhydrophobic surface by one-step electrospinning method without any further modification. Within five rounds of experiments by testing totally forty-six data points, FSC scheme successfully identified an optimal parameter combination that generated electrospun membranes with a static water contact angle of 160 degrees or larger. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) imaging indicates that the FSC optimized surface attains unique morphology. The optimized setup introduced here therefore serves as a one-step, straightforward, and economic approach to fabricate superhydrophobic surface with electrospinning approach. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Molecular Mechanics of the Moisture Effect on Epoxy/Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposites
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 324; doi:10.3390/nano7100324 -
Abstract
The strong structural integrity of polymer nanocomposite is influenced in the moist environment; but the fundamental mechanism is unclear, including the basis for the interactions between the absorbed water molecules and the structure, which prevents us from predicting the durability of its applications
[...] Read more.
The strong structural integrity of polymer nanocomposite is influenced in the moist environment; but the fundamental mechanism is unclear, including the basis for the interactions between the absorbed water molecules and the structure, which prevents us from predicting the durability of its applications across multiple scales. In this research, a molecular dynamics model of the epoxy/single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) nanocomposite is constructed to explore the mechanism of the moisture effect, and an analysis of the molecular interactions is provided by focusing on the hydrogen bond (H-bond) network inside the nanocomposite structure. The simulations show that at low moisture concentration, the water molecules affect the molecular interactions by favorably forming the water-nanocomposite H-bonds and the small cluster, while at high concentration the water molecules predominantly form the water-water H-bonds and the large cluster. The water molecules in the epoxy matrix and the epoxy-SWCNT interface disrupt the molecular interactions and deteriorate the mechanical properties. Through identifying the link between the water molecules and the nanocomposite structure and properties, it is shown that the free volume in the nanocomposite is crucial for its structural integrity, which facilitates the moisture accumulation and the distinct material deteriorations. This study provides insights into the moisture-affected structure and properties of the nanocomposite from the nanoscale perspective, which contributes to the understanding of the nanocomposite long-term performance under the moisture effect. Full article
Figures